RENTON, Washington. This offseason, the Seattle Seahawks experienced the most important defensive transition of the Pete Carroll era. They revamped their coaching staff, set up a revamped scheme, and made several major additions through free agency, the trade market, and the draft.
New protection. Everyone knows the problem.
The Seahawks got off to a bad start on that side of the ball again. It wasn’t as long as their last two seasons had been fighting for the net, which went on past September before they turned things around. And it wasn’t as pronounced as when their defense in 2020 and 21 conceded record-breaking yards early on.
But it was bad. And the problems were everywhere – missed tackles, missed assignments, communication failures, penalties and head-to-head losses – and they need to be fixed when the Seahawks play the Detroit Lions on Sunday (13:00 ET). , Fox).
“We need to do better,” said Josh Jones, who took on a strong safety when Jamal Adams went down after the Seahawks fell to 1-2 in a 27-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. “That’s what it is, utter disappointment. This is not how we wanted to start the season.”
In three games, the Seahawks defense ranks 32nd in yards allowed per pass attempt, 22nd in yards per rush, 29th in yards per game, and 29th in third-loss conversion rate. Their pass rush was ok, ranking 13th in sacks per dropback, and their efficiency in the red zone was a saving grace. They rank fourth in touchdown prevention out of 20.
Two of those stoppages came from a pair of forced fumbles at the goal line in Monday Night’s opener against the Denver Broncos, which helped them hold on to a 17–16 victory but masked what was otherwise a suspicious opening. Some of their poor performance in a 27-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers six days later may have been the result of an emotional hangover from a thrilling and particularly significant victory over Russell Wilson and the Broncos. Carroll and general manager John Schneider said they had to face a major challenge in a short week.
But there was no such excuse against Atlanta.
Running back Cordarrell Patterson, turned receiver, hit Seattle for 141 yards in just 17 carries. Marcus Mariota completed six passes for at least 20 yards, including 26 yards on third and 19th passes. The Falcons scored in five of their first six possessions (excluding a drive that started five seconds before the end of the first half). The exception was three strikeouts in the second quarter, the only thing the Seahawks have forced this season. According to Sportzshala Stats & Information, they were the last team to do so.
“I’m disappointed that we’re not starting faster,” Carroll said. “I would like us to start what we are doing faster. The third loss figures are not in good shape, and neither are the intermediate numbers. novelty and you can see it.”
One such mistake came at the close of the third and nineteenth rounds, when rookie quarterback Tarik Wulen didn’t go deep enough in his zone to give the wide receiver enough space between him and Jones. Wool, the fifth round choice, was up and down. So did fourth-rounder Kobe Bryant, who started the last two games in nickelback. Same with cornerback Mike Jackson and linebacker Cody Barton, fourth-year players who made their first full-time starters.
“We have a lot of young guys playing, but that’s no excuse,” veteran defenseman Quinton Jefferson said. “You are a professional, and performances are expected from you. Should we go out and perform, or guess what? We will lose”.
But mistakes are not limited to young people. Outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu — the Seahawks’ best free agent this offseason and their most prolific defenseman in three games — took the blame for one of Sunday’s key games. Nwosu said he was to blame for allowing Patterson to open the cutoff streak wide on a 40-yard run that sent Atlanta to a touchdown in the third quarter.
“I don’t think it’s about youth. Everyone is just learning to play together in this new system,” said linebacker Jordyn Brooks, who returned to the starting line-up, who replaced Bobby Wagner as signaling guard. “We will be great, but it will take time. You have to go through all this in advance so that by the end of the season we have made all the mistakes that we should have made.”
“I don’t panic about anything. In fact, I’m in a good mood right now, because I know that everything will be fine with us. You just have to keep working on the little things and keep going.”
Carroll seemed to place the responsibility for improvement largely on his players after the game, saying that coaches could give them “test answers” and that they should complete them. But on his Seattle Sports 710-AM radio show on Monday, Carroll said that he and his staff need to do more to enable players to succeed, that they are going to “adjust a couple of things” in terms of the scheme.
They will also change their staff. Carroll signaled that outside linebackers Boy Mayf and Darryl Johnson would play more. He strongly hinted that their increase in snaps would mean less for Darrell Taylor, who had a strip against Atlanta but struggled with the run.
“We need to pick things up more accurately and consistently,” Carroll said of run defense. “We just need to clean up the way it goes there… It’s the guys up front, it’s the linebackers and the DB, all together. We cannot refuse the space we give up. too easy for them. This is something we’ve focused on but haven’t changed yet. We need to do it.”
Brooks, who has featured in their last two defensive turns, is confident they will do it again.
“I think this is only part of the journey,” he said. “What story is not good if you have no cons? So we look back at her at the end of the season and say, “Oh man, we were pretty damn good in week 2, week 3, whatever, and then we flipped the script.” That’s how I see it working out for us.”